Weekly reader responses 

It's just a plant

In our July 22 Higher Ground column ("Making an example") Larry Gabriel wrote about a police sweep on a Detroit Medz dispensary, a move which appeared to be defended by Detroit Councilman James Tate. Robert Sharpe, a policy analyst at Common Sense for Drug Policy, weighed in.

Regarding Larry Gabriel's July 22 column, would City Councilmember James Tate and the Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition prefer that we go back to the old days when violent drug cartels had a monopoly on marijuana distribution? It's long past time to stop treating marijuana like kryptonite. The plant is not nearly as dangerous (or exciting) as drug warriors would have us believe.

Medical marijuana is a step in the right direction. Policymakers serious about protecting children from drugs will support taxing and regulating all marijuana use. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as criminals have a hand in marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth. Marijuana prohibition is a gateway drug policy.

Deep thoughts

While we ran a letter in full from reader Dave Hornstein from Birmingham critiquing Lessenberry's June 24 column (a short note titled "Calling a con-con?"), he didn't appreciate that we teed it up by saying he went "off the deep end," and for that we apologize.

While I appreciate the Metro Times running my letter to the editor in its July 1-7 issue, I object to being insultingly described as a person who "really goes off the deep end."

If anyone has gone off the deep end, it is Jack Lessenberry. Over the last several months, he has written two columns calling for a state constitutional convention, and his argument for a con-con is incoherent. In the first place, putting a con-con proposal on the ballot isn't feasible at this time. Secondly, because of gerrymandering, a con-con is virtually guaranteed to have a hefty Republican majority, which wouldn't make the constitutional changes Lessenberry wants and would probably produce a new constitution that is even worse than the current one.

Lessenberry further appeared to be out of touch with reality with his lack of awareness of the Detroit Free Press' vigorous campaign for the failed 2010 con-con proposal. It all made me wonder whether Lessenberry is losing it.

All the same, I took a constructive approach to achieving the constitutional changes that both Lessenberry and I want to see. My viable alternative to a con-con is petition drives putting state constitutional amendments on the ballot, where they might even pass.

As for the Metro Times, its editors need to behave professionally and not insult the readers. An apology is in order.


On our website, Michael Jackman wrote a profile on the long-standing Carbon Athletics Club ("Delray's best-kept secret: Carbon Athletics Club"). Reader Jim Orr was intrigued.

Excellent article on the Carbon Athletics Club. I think I may pay it a visit and see about becoming a member. Great story.

Ryan Felton goes solo

It is our sad duty to announce that MT investigative reporter Ryan Felton, 26, is departing Metro Times to pursue his journalism career as a freelancer. Felton first joined Metro Times as an intern in 2011, covering news for the paper, and returned to these pages in 2013, writing a 6,000-word story about MDOT's proposed $1.8 billion expansion of I-94. He joined us as a staffer early in 2014. During his time here, his stories included Mike Ilitch's new hockey stadium, Dan Gilbert's downtown empire, the smell of Detroit's incinerator, and more. His work has appeared in The Guardian and In These Times. We wish him all the luck in the world in his future endeavors.

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